Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So I'm about halfway through the ponderously and peculiarly titled Child of God, which - owing to its pervy, necrophilic kink and loosely-plotted structure - probably isn't going to be made into a major motion picture ala The Road or No Country for Old Men anytime in the immediate future. (But, you know, a Blood Meridian flick is in production as I type this, which is all kinds of insane. Whoever green-lit that project couldn't have read through the book, which is so mesmerizingly disturbing. that I'm unable to find a punchy phrase that accurately captures its noisomeness. But back to Child of God's own special brand of perversity: Billy Bob Thorton would make a perfect Lester Ballard, right? I mean, can't you picture him wandering through forests and shooting wolves and generally acting like a belligerent hillbilly?)

One of the things I love about Cormac McCarthy - and this is something that doesn't come up much in reviews of his books, that I've seen, anyway - is how deftly he traces cracks and fissures at the fringes of American life in whatever era he's addressing, how everything's withering away to nothing, to anarchy and rot. There's just a sense of inescapable hopelessness that inhabits ever sentence and manifests itself here in the neverending series of abandoned shacks and rundown houses Ballard claims as his own as he grifts his way through rural Tennessee, making enemies and alienating people.

I wonder if this tendency is McCarthy being prescient - if, on some level, these various books are mean to serve as warnings thatt sooner or later, as we sink deeper into the ongoing Long Emergency/Nobodies apocalypse, we're all going to be living the way his various narrators wind up living: dispossessed, on the run, only legends in their own minds.

No comments: